Friday, August 19, 2011

Jimmy Sangster 1927-2011

Very saddened to hear the news of the death of Hammer screenwriter Jimmy Sangster. He wrote quite a number of Hammer movies, including one of my favorites, Dracula, Prince of Darkness. Thank you, sir.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

HANNA (2011)
Meh. It's just... meh. Who cares? A genetically-engineered super soldier who is a 17 year-old girl (Saoirse Ronan) leaves the mountain wilderness she shares with her ex-secret agent father (Eric Bana) to find the truth of her existence. Unfortunately, she exists in an overwrought action flick with rampant symbolism and nothing much to say. There are two movies here. One in which a teenage girl is chased down by her government programmers and she has to fight to survive, and one in which a teenage girl who has always lived apart from society enters civilization and can't find a way to be normal. They don't co-exist well, and apart from the first 15 minutes, which are beautifully edited and photographed, there's nothing here to recommend it. It's pointless, and pointlessly affected. The worst affectation is Tom Hollander, a truly shitty actor, hamming it up at the same time he sleepwalks his way through the movie as a stereotypically gay super assassin who never has to prove why everyone's so afraid of him. Lots of build up for nothing, but Saoirse is really pretty, even though she's never been in a good movie yet... ** stars.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Captain America Steroid Scandal

"I felt a lot of pressure, every day, to kill a lot of Nazis."

Monday, August 15, 2011

I've Just About Had It with Gordon Ramsay's Fox Shows

Tonight, Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef both hinged on ridiculous decisions.

First, HK. At this point, it's been beyond obvious for weeks that Carrie and Elise both need to leave. All they do is snipe and backbite and bitch at each other instead of actually cooking, and it brings down the entire Red Team kitchen. Once again, both of them were put up for elimination (it's always one or both of them), but Gordon doesn't eliminate either of them. He eliminates Jamie instead, because he's decided that she's not fighting back anymore. No matter how many times he has to throw Elise and Carrie out of the kitchen--after which he can see for himself that the kitchen functions better without them--he just won't eliminate them.

Why? For manufactured drama, of course. Because Hell's Kitchen isn't a show about cooking, it's a show about people yelling. If you're like me and you don't care about the personalities clashing and would just like to see the actual food for more than 90 seconds per episode, you're just out of luck. It's all about drama and fighting and sound bites. So the results are completely meaningless, because Gordon doesn't base his decisions on merit, but on what's going to make for good TV.

And yes, I know it's been like that the whole time; now they're just not even bothering to pretend it's about cooking.

Ditto MasterChef. The only reason to eliminate Suzy over Christian is that they want the finals to be this grand contest between bitter rivals Christian and Jennifer. (Sorry, Adrien, you just aren't white enough to make the final two. Now that we've got rid of all the blacks and gays and every other ethnicity, MC will get Adrien out of the way in order to decide who the new MasterWhite is.) So, Christian's pie looks good but tastes awful, and Suzy's pie looks awful but tastes delicious, and the one to keep is the one who can't make a pie that tastes good. Yeah... awesome thinking.

Because, you know, it's not about merit, it's about choosing the most TV-ready personality. That's why they picked their little prodigy last year, and that's why they'll pick a white person this year.


Of More Interest to Me Than Rise of the Apes

My beloved Paul Williams, performing on Carson in 1973 in full makeup and costume as Virgil from Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Brilliant.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Bonus, because I never get tired of it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Song of the Week: "A Well-Respected Man"

The Kinks, 1966. One of my favorites of theirs, and I can't believe I've only had the Kinks up once before...